Viking Genomics

I have attempted to read the paper ‘Population genomics of the Viking world’ recently published in ‘Nature’ and found it totally incomprehensible. To understand it you need a degree in statistics and/or genetics. This is dangerous because non specialists are not able to critically assess the work to ensure that the conclusions are justified by the evidence. They can only understand the Abstract and Discussion and hope that the authors’ preconceptions and errors have not affected the conclusions.

It then becomes a matter of faith, you either believe it or you don’t. There are errors in the work, eg: “The ancient samples are divided into the following five broad categories: Bronze Age (BA), Iron Age (IA), Early Viking Age (EVA), Viking Age (VA), Medieval (MED) and Early Modern (EM).” They can’t count! How can they expect us to believe that the complex statistics are right when they can’t count beyond five? There are 89 authors listed; did any of them read it? Apparently not.

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